Birth and labour doulas provide support to labouring women and their families. As a professionally trained and certified birth doula, I provide unbiased support. This means that I do not judge you for your choices during your pregnancy, labour and childbirth. I support all sorts of births – medicated, unmedicated, at home, hospital and birth centre.
Some women know their preferences from pain management during pregnancy and others are open to what happens in the moment during labour and adjusting accordingly.
You may know already that you would like to receive an epidural for pain management and that is great. You may be thinking about it but aren’t sure as how do you know how much pain you will be in until the moment or what you may want until the day off. It’s important to know about the different pain management options prior to when labour starts as this will give you a better understanding of what they are, what is available to you at your birth location and know of any risks that may be associated with it.
Epidurals can only be administered at hospitals. If you are planning a home birth you won’t have access to it. If you are planning to birth at a birth centre you may have the option of transferring to a local hospital if you request an epidural. In a text book labour you will be admitted to the hospital once active labour has been established. Early labour; 0 to 4/5 cemeteries dilation of the cervix may take a few hours or over a day. It is important to have other strategies to manage contractions during early labour and prior to be admitted to the hospital.
I have supported many families who decide they want an epidural during their pregnancy and others who would like to try non-medicated comfort measure techniques first and if and when those aren’t working, receive an epidural. Some women have a goal of getting to 6 cemeteries dilation before they receive an epidural. Some families don’t want an epidural but changes in labour or at the end of their pregnancy, it is now an option and they decide its an option for them now.
How I support your birth
As a doula, I often join families that I support during early labour. I provide hands on comfort measure techniques such as massage, breathing, movement and visualization. I also bring with me a tens machine, peanut ball and birth ball as well as other tools. Sometimes I join those I support as a birth doula at the hospital.
When you first get to the hospital, you will have to check in to triage. Here a nurse will assess your vitals and baby’s. Sometimes you have to wait for the doctor who is working to come to do an internal assessment. The wait could be 30 minutes, an hour or 3 hours. Having the support of a professional doula can help you get through those contractions while you are waiting to be assessed. Once you are admitted, you may have to wait for the epidural as well. The timing can depend on how many others are also waiting and if the anesthesiologist is in surgery, it could be an hour or more. Having a doula will help you manage those contractions.
Once you have received your epidural, you may be able to rest – which will be very welcomed if early labour has been awhile. With an epidural you will not be able to walk around including to use the washroom. You will have to have continuous fetal monitoring and labour in bed. Just because you are in bed doesn’t mean you can’t move. You may want to change positions ever 30-45 minutes. Changing positions in bed helps encourage your baby to move and helps create more space in your pelvic; making more room for baby to make his/her way down.
A labour doula can help and suggest position changes. You may lie on one side, then the other. You may have your soles of your feet together, knees out like a book. You may have a pillowed folded up in between your legs or a peanut ball. A birth doula can still give you a massage – your shoulders and neck may be tense. We may read birth affirmations to you or other deep relaxation techniques. The more calm and relaxed you can be, the more calm and relaxed your baby will be and the more your pelvic floor muscles and cervix can relax and open.
When I support clients who have an epidural, I am not sitting back and relaxing. I am supporting you perhaps by a arm massage, bringing you ice chips or water to drink, rubbing your back, warming up a heat pack and supporting your birth partner. When it is time for pushing, I may be supporting one of your legs, breathing with you, counting for you, giving you sips of water and wiping your forehead with a cool cloth.
My role is to support you and your birth.
This is your birth, not mine. I want you to feel supported in your choices and empower you to make those choices on your own.
To learn more about how I can support you and your family during your pregnancy, labour and childbirth, contact me for a free no obligation meeting.
greater satisfaction with birth experience